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"What was New Orleans' role in the American Revolution?" 

Blake Pontchartrain answers your questions

click to enlarge A marker (forefront) at the statue of Bernardo de Galvez tells visitors about Galvez's part in the Revolutionary War.

A marker (forefront) at the statue of Bernardo de Galvez tells visitors about Galvez's part in the Revolutionary War.

Hey Blake,

I saw that a marker from the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) has been added to the statue of Galvez on the river. I would like to know more about New Orleans' role in the American Revolution, and is there a local chapter of the SAR?

Ryun Mouton

Dear Ryun,

  The Granaderos y Damas de Galvez, based in San Antonio, Texas, donated the new marker in September 2012, but the group isn't affiliated with SAR.

  According to Joel Escamilla, governor general of Granaderos y Damas de Galvez, the marker was placed with the statue at the foot of Canal Street to provide details of Bernardo de Galvez's successful military and political career as part of its mission to inform the public about Spain's contribution to the American Revolution.

  Galvez provided money, supplies and weapons to Americans even before Spain entered the war against England, and he fortified defenses along the Mississippi River. When English armies surrounded New Orleans, Galvez summoned more troops and required English residents to take an oath of neutrality or leave. In 1779, he led a motley crew of Louisiana settlers to military victories, capturing British forts in Manchac, Baton Rouge, Natchez, Miss., Mobile, Ala., and Pensacola, Fla., keeping the English engaged on two fronts and depleting their resources.

  To honor Revolutionary War heroes like Galvez, a group of male descendants of American Revolution veterans started a civic and fraternal society in 1876. In 1906, SAR was chartered by an act of Congress, which was signed by U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, himself a member of SAR. The Louisiana Society's website (www.lassar.org) has contact information for its 10 chapters, including the George Washington Chapter in New Orleans. New Orleans also has three chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) for women descendants of those who fought that war.

  There's an interesting discrepancy between the original marker and the new one. The original has Galvez's Louisiana reign from 1777 to 1785, while the new one lists 1777 to 1782. This likely is because Esteban Rodriguez Miro served as interim governor while Galvez was in Spain and Cuba (1783-1784). Miro was officially appointed governor in 1785.

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